I and Louis Gibbon, Winfred Lucius were college classmates, and we both loved nature and adventure. After graduation, we went our separate ways and never saw each other again. However, last month, we finally had a rare opportunity to go to Wutong Mountain National Forest Park in Guangdong, China for night hunting. Wutong Mountain National Forest Park is one of the largest forest parks in China, with rich biodiversity and beautiful natural scenery. Night hunting is a special adventure activity that requires us to find and catch wild animals in the dark, which is exciting and fun. In order to see clearly at night, we prepared two essential equipment: night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. These two instruments can both let us see the shape and position of animals in the dark, but the principle and effect are different. Below, I will introduce in detail our night hunting trip, as well as the local food and culture we tasted.
The essential equipment and experience of night hunting
Night hunting is a very special adventure activity that requires us to find and catch wild animals in the dark, which is a great challenge for our vision and reaction ability. In order to see clearly at night, we prepared two essential equipment: night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. These two instruments can both let us see the shape and position of animals in the dark, but the principle and effect are different.
Night vision binoculars are instruments that use infrared illumination technology to see objects in a completely dark environment. They can emit invisible infrared light, then receive the reflected infrared light, and form a visible light image. Night vision devices have different generations, from the first generation to the fourth generation, with different performance and price. We chose the third-generation night vision device, which has high resolution, high sensitivity, low noise, long life and other characteristics, which can let us see clear images and details. The advantage of night vision devices is that they can be used in situations without any ambient light, and they do not affect the behavior of animals, because the infrared light they emit is invisible to animals. The disadvantage of night vision devices is that the image color is monotonous, usually green or black and white, and the field of view is limited, and you cannot see distant or surrounding scenery.
Infrared binoculars are instruments that use infrared detection technology to measure the surface temperature of objects and display them as color images. They can distinguish different objects according to the different temperatures of infrared rays emitted by them, and use different colors to indicate them. They can see objects in a completely dark environment, but there are some limitations. Thermal imaging night vision devices are instruments that use thermal radiation to display temperature differences of objects. They can work without any light source, because they do not rely on visible light or infrared light. The advantage of thermal imaging night vision devices is that they can see distant or surrounding scenery, and they can distinguish different heat sources, such as humans, animals, vehicles, etc. The disadvantage of thermal imaging night vision devices is that they cannot show the shape and details of objects, only show the color and brightness changes, and they are affected by environmental temperature and humidity, which may cause errors or interference.
Before night hunting, under the guidance of the guide, we first familiarized ourselves with the use methods and precautions of these two instruments. We found that these two instruments have their own advantages and disadvantages, and need to choose the appropriate instrument according to different situations and targets. Sometimes we also use both instruments at the same time to compare and verify what we see. Through these two instruments, we opened another world in the dark and felt the mystery and charm of the night forest. Next, I will introduce our night hunting process and harvest.
The process and harvest of night hunting
We started our night hunting trip under the guidance of the guide. We followed the forest path and quietly entered the dark jungle. We put on night vision devices, turned on infrared devices, and began to look for and observe the animals around us. We found that the night forest was a completely different world, with many wonderful creatures that we usually don’t see.
We first saw a little owl, sitting on a tree branch, staring at the ground with its sharp eyes. We used night vision devices to see its gray feathers and round head, and used infrared devices to see its warm body and cooled beak and claws. We quietly observed it for a while, and then continued to move forward.
We then saw a group of wild boars, busy looking for food on the ground. We used night vision devices to see their rough fur and sharp teeth, and used infrared devices to see their red noses and ears. We carefully avoided them, because they might attack us.
We also saw a pangolin, curled up into a ball, resisting a porcupine that wanted to eat it. We used night vision devices to see its hard scales and tail, and used infrared devices to see its cold body and fiery eyes. We cheered for it, hoping it could escape danger.
We also saw many other animals, such as squirrels, bats, hedgehogs, snakes, lizards, frogs, etc. We used two instruments to observe and compare their shapes and temperatures, feeling the diversity and mystery of life. We also tried to catch some small animals, such as insects, spiders, geckos, etc. We used gloves or containers to protect ourselves and animals, and then put them back in place. We not only enjoyed the fun of night hunting, but also learned a lot about animal knowledge and environmental protection awareness.
After night hunting, we returned to the local homestay, ready to enjoy the local food and culture. Below, I will introduce the Wutong Mountain specialty dishes we tasted, as well as our accommodation and communication at the local homestay.
The local food and culture
We stayed at the local homestay for one night and felt the enthusiasm and friendliness of the locals. The host of the homestay was an old couple who were very hospitable and prepared Wutong Mountain specialty dinner for us. We tasted delicious food while chatting and learning about the local customs.
There are many Wutong Mountain specialty dishes, among which the most famous is Wutong chicken. This is a dish made by wrapping chicken meat and spices with Wutong leaves, then burying it in the ground and baking it. The purpose of this is to make the chicken absorb the fragrance of Wutong leaves while keeping the juice and tenderness. One bite down, you can feel the sweetness and tenderness of the chicken, as well as the fragrance and slight bitterness of Wutong leaves.
In addition to Wutong chicken, we also ate other dishes, such as wild mushroom soup, stir-fried bamboo shoots and meat, yam cake, peanut crisp, etc. These dishes are made with local fresh ingredients, with a light and healthy taste. We tasted these dishes one by one, feeling the original flavor of the ingredients and the skillful craftsmanship of the chef.
After dinner, we also drank some local specialties – Wutong tea. This is a tea drink made by mixing Wutong flowers and tea leaves. It has a faint floral and tea aroma, which can relieve fatigue and detoxify. We used night vision devices to see the light green color of this tea, and used infrared devices to see its warmth. One sip down, we felt the sweetness and smoothness of the tea, as well as the freshness and elegance of the flowers.
After drinking tea, we chatted with the host of the homestay. They told us a lot of stories and legends about Wutong Mountain National Forest Park, which made us have a deeper impression and understanding of this place. They also recommended us some worth seeing attractions and activities, such as sunrise, waterfall, cave, rafting, etc. They said that if they have a chance, they hope we can come here again to play, they will prepare more delicious food and surprises for us.
After chatting, we went back to our room to rest. We thanked the host of the homestay, and also thanked each other. We felt that this night hunting trip was a very memorable and meaningful experience, not only let us see the wonders of the night forest, but also let us taste the wonderful local food, and more importantly, let us reunite with old friends. Next, I will summarize the feelings and harvests of night hunting in Wutong Mountain.
This night hunting trip in Wutong Mountain made me and my college classmates Louis Gibbon, Winfred Lucius have a memorable reunion. We not only explored the secrets of the forest in the dark, but also tasted the charm of food in the light. We used two instruments to observe and catch animals, feeling the magic of technology and the diversity of life. We used two hearts to communicate and share stories, feeling the preciousness and warmth of friendship. This trip gave us knowledge, fun, emotion and memory, and also made us have a deeper understanding and expectation of nature, culture, life and future. I am very grateful to my classmates, and also to this beautiful place, for giving me such a rare experience and opportunity. I hope that one day we can meet again here, continue our night hunting trip, continue our old friendship.